The Seven Years’ War

What would the state of the free world be today if the alliance of the war of
the Austrian Succession had not reversed in the Seven Years’ War? Would we
speak French, still be “New England”, or perhaps New Spain? The fact is that
while we may not know for certain that today’s world would be different, you
can rest assured that the Seven Years’ War set the tone in Europe, and more
importantly in North America for the next half century.

The history of the 18th century in Europe was always uncertain. In fact, the
history of Europe will show that the fate of the continent, perhaps even the
world, was always on the brink. Nations constantly were maneuvering for the
upper hand looking to the highest bidder to choose sides with. The war of the
Spanish Succession and the war of the Austrian Succession will show us that this
new “world war” would be no different. The degree of uncertainty on the
continent in 1755 is unparalleled. Russia, Bohemia, and even France and England
could have swung in either direction. In fact France and England did change “loyalties”
if you will between the Treaty of Aix-la-chapelle and Frederick’s invasion of
Bohemia in 1756. Maria Theresa, although agreed to the aforementioned treaty to
end the war of her accession, would always seek revenge on Frederick for the
humiliation he had inflicted on her.

If these loyalties or interests I should say hadn’t changed, what would the
effect on the world be today? Would you or I be speaking some other language?
French perhaps?

The Enlightened Despots, Frederick? Was he? Maria Theresa? Hardly, Catherine
had absolutely no impact whatsoever, and William Pitt, while he was an effective
military strategist, was no despot, and surely not enlightened. Louis the XV,
who was led around by the nose by Mme de Pompadour, was as ineffective as all
the Kings of France would be after his grandfather.

Britain obtained Prussia as her ally, but you might ask, why? Surely you can’t
fuel Frederick’s massive army any more? Pitt the Elder argued though that
while true Prussia’s army was unmatched in these days, they had no Navy, and
therefore was no threat to the “isles”. Besides they could defend Hanover as
Brittaiinias ally, to let England deal with her main concern, colonization.
While the Hanoverian kings were by no means brilliant or very effective
furthermore, it was parliament that realized the importance of her colonies,
especially in the New World.

The treaty of Westminster sealed the deal between both England and Prussia.
Frederick’s hopes were that this would deter Russia from getting involved, and
the ”Brits” trusted Frederick in return to protect Hanover.

Frederick successfully insulted many of the rulers of Europe of his day. “
The first three whores of Europe” is the name he gave to Maria Theresa,
Elizaveta Petrovna, and Mme. De Pompadour. Surrounded by enemies on all sides
one would think to have a bit more taste. Will Durant put it best when he said,
“It is comforting to know that even the Great can be foolish now and then”.
(Rousseau and Revolution. 43) King Augustus III of Saxony, Elector of Poland,
which happened to split the mainland of Prussia down the middle, and also
happened to be quite catholic, thought of Frederick as an insolent infidel.
Nonetheless, Frederick would have none of this. Quite arrogant, or maybe only
confident in his army, knowing all the time that Maria was just maneuvering and
waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike back and regain Silesia, whose
loyalties mostly lie with Austria. While Maria claimed that she would honor the
Treaty of Dresden, it was clear to Frederick that all of Europe was taking
sides. In order to protect his western front, Frederick invaded Saxony. Thus
began the war. (On the European front)

Frederick won the first few battles of the war, but the overwhelming number
and strength of the allied forces of Europe were too much. The English hadn’t
been much help to the cause thus far and until the reinstatement of Pitt, it
looked as though Frederick’s fate was sealed. How can any army so greatly
outmatched in size, have lasted as long?

Outmatched and attacked on all sides, the tide of the war looked as though it
was turning in favor of the allies. Frederick and his army was worn and ragged
in less than one year of fighting. Although he was successful in the first few
campaigns, the lack of English support (in manpower), left Frederick alone and
outnumbered nearly four to one. Frederick was deeply depressed during this
period and